My friend Lisa Mladinich asked me to write today on chapter six of her beautiful new book, True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life.
Lisa’s going to be doing a giveaway of her book for readers of this blog over at her place, and yes, I completely forgot to ask whether that will be at AmazingCatechists.com or Water into Wine, so check both! I’ll update here when I have the direct link.
(I explained to her that me putting things in the mail was not a good way to make sure it arrived before Christmas. Any Christmas. She gamely agreed to host “my” giveaway herself. She’s super that way.)
Mostly people don’t talk about vocations late in life. When they do, in our youth-obsessed culture, it’s to run some rah-rah post about the 97-year-old who just got her law degree or something like that. You can still be just like a young person! Even at your age!
The error isn’t in thinking that there’s nothing new to be done, no new part of yourself to be discovered and delivered to the world. There most certainly is, and I love watching that newness unfold in the women around me — some my age, just getting started on the second half of life, others easing into what you might reasonably call the third half of life.
The error, rather, is in thinking that the vocation thing is all about degrees or jobs or exciting new travel destinations or I’m not sure what. That’s not what your vocation is.
Your vocation, Lisa writes, is something much more than that:
“The lifeblood of every vocation is the realization that we are most completely ourselves when we love sacrificially, strengthened by prayer and sacramental life. Living in divine love is the only answer to our human longings. We are made in the image and likeness of God, so it is only by loving as he does that we find fulfillment.”
The book looks into the lives of a handful of women in various states of life — married, vowed religious, consecrated virgins. There are some very down-to-earth comments about the difficulties and joys of each state of life. I felt, in reading those stories, that I’d finally found my people. I felt that I’d finally run into that meeting point of authenticity and maturity that’s missing in so much of the chit-chat of popular culture.
(For those who are single-but-not-consecrated, I think several of the different vocations reports will have something to resonate with what’s going on in your life. The chapter isn’t about having a special vocational label, it’s about living out our universal vocation to love.)
It’s not lip gloss and nail polish. There’s nothing about how much fun it will be now that the kids are gone, or you’re only as old as you feel, or any of that nonsense. It’s about the Christian life. It’s about reaching the age when you realize all the shiny categories and awards aren’t the big thing. The big thing is showing up every day and loving God and neighbor in whatever way is handed to you that day.
If you’ve ever met a lady who does that, you know all about true radiance.
- 10/19/2015 – Inner Beauty: Seasons of Grace
- 10/20/2015 – Changing Bodies/Sacred Mentality: Tales From The Bonny Blue House
- 10/21/2015 – Brain Health and Changing Spirituality: Cause of Our Joy
- 10/26/2015 – How Our Spiritual Lives Bless Others: CatholicMom
- 10/27/2015 – Friendships: Snoring Scholar
- 10/28/2015 – Maturing Vocations: Sticking the Corners (that’s here)
- 10/29/2015 – Pitfalls to Avoid in the Second Half of Life: Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
- 10/30/2015 – Roadblocks to Peace:A Blog by Maria Johnson
There’s a giveaway at every stop, to enter early and often!